Conquering the Other Mount Shasta

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Outside magazine, August 1996

Conquering the Other Mount Shasta
By Andrew Rice

Mount Shasta's influence over northernmost California is more than just vertical. Almost everything you need--food, places to stay, equipment rental--is clustered in or around the tiny city of Mount Shasta, at the foot of the mountain (not to be confused with the small mining town of Shasta, near Redding). Here rednecks, yuppies, and crystal-clutchers have somehow forged a peaceful coexistence. You can get your chainsaw sharpened just down the street from the soy-milk section of a New Age market and bookstore--a full-service kind of place.

Where to Eat
On a sunny afternoon, the best place to unwind is the outside deck at Willy's Bavarian Kitchen (107 Chestnut St.; 916-926-3636), which has a full selection of German beers to complement bratwurst or, in a nod to Californian sensibilities, veggie burgers. Lily's (1013 S. Mount Shasta Blvd.; 916-926-3372) is the restaurant in town, offering seafood and pasta with a northern Italian influence (the chef is from Venice). Tables on the porch and in the garden of this old clapboard house have stunning views of the mountain. Lily's also draws the weekend breakfast crew for vegetable potato cakes and a gargantuan breakfast burrito.

Where to Stay
Just two miles from the base of the mountain, the Wagon Creek Inn is a log-cabin-style B&B popular with climbers. Use a spotting scope in the yard to scout your route up the mountain. The owner is accustomed to the strange hours of climbers heading out and their delirious condition on returning. Doubles cost $65 with a shared bath, $75 with private bath, breakfast included. Call 916-926-0838. The Stewart Mineral Springs Resort, on 37 forested acres 15 miles north of town, centers around a cold spring with legendary healing powers. Choose from a tepee ($15 per person), a motelish room ($37.50), a two-person cabin with kitchen ($45), or a large A-frame house ($300) that sleeps ten to 15 people. Call 800-322-9223 or 916-938-2222.

Gear and Information
The all-purpose outdoor store in town is The Fifth Season (300 N. Mount Shasta Blvd.; 916-926-3606), where you can rent full mountaineering equipment (a package including ice ax, crampons, and plastic mountaineering boots costs $36 for three days). Mountain bikes rent for $30 per day.

For other area information, drop by the Mount Shasta Convention and Visitors Bureau, 300 Pine St., or call 800-926-4865 or 916-926-4865.

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